Mandell Family Foundation Supports Connecticut Science Center Expansion

The Connecticut Science Center has announced a seven-figure gift from the Andrew J. & Joyce D. Mandell Family Foundation to expand its professional development program for teachers of STEM subjects.

The center's newly renamed Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Academy for Teachers will triple the size of its teacher development program to serve approximately fifteen hundred educators annually, as it works to transform the teaching of science from a discipline based on lectures and memorization to one driven by student-centered investigation. According to Matt Fleury, president and CEO of the center, new nationally mandated benchmarks like the Next Generation Science and Common Core Education standards will require teachers to seek training to improve the way they teach and integrate science with the rest of the curricula. "Working closely with educators and policy makers, the Science Center has created teaching methods and tools that have an important positive effect on student achievement," said Fleury. "We will now be able to add instructors and offer best-in-class training to many more teachers throughout the state."

In addition to the expansion of the teacher development program, the Mandell Academy at the center will award graduate-level college credit through Charter Oak State College for specific programs, enabling teachers to earn up to nine credits over a three-year period toward their master's degrees.

The Mandell Family Foundation was an early supporter of the center, and Andrew Mandell has served as a trustee of the organization since 2009. "I've watched this organization carefully develop its teacher professional development program over the years, and have been impressed with the results at the schools that use it," said Mandell. "Teachers have told me that what they learn here completely changes how they teach, and their students' test scores have risen as a result."